For a long time, a Nordic diet has been known to help with weight loss. Now, the diet of fish, vegetables, berries and other foods can also reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels — even in the absence of weight loss.
Researchers in Denmark and four other Scandinavian countries made the discovery, which decouples weight loss from the diet’s medical benefits. That, they said, is important because the diet’s health advantages can now be more useful for people who may not be looking to lose weight.
To determine that, they analyzed blood and other samples from 200 people over age 50 who were overweight and at risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Half of the people ate a Nordic diet for six months, while the others stuck to their usual foods.
Those on the Nordic diet were significantly healthier and had lower cholesterol levels, less fat in the blood and better blood-sugar control. Researchers even kept the Nordic dieters’ weight stable, which established the diet’s ability to drive better health metrics outside of weight loss.
The health benefits seem to stem from the Nordic diet’s unique composition of fats, which includes rapeseed oil. The oil is a good source of healthy fat and beneficial “omega” fatty acids.
In addition to rapeseed oil, helpful fats in the Nordic diet come from fish, as well as flaxseed and sunflower oils. The researchers don’t yet know why those fats lower cholesterol and blood sugar — but they believe the higher levels of unsaturated fats play a role.
The diet’s other foods include nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and low-fat dairy products. To feel as strong as a Viking, start eating like one.